The tarp was placed over the infield at Globe Life Park on Thursday night in anticipation of morning rain showers Friday ahead of Game 2 of the American League Division Series.
If the Rangers have any luck, the rain will wash away the Game 1 disaster.
The Rangers know they must move on from the 10-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, who have beaten the Rangers in four straight ALDS games. The Rangers, meanwhile, are 1-10 all time in ALDS home games.
Maybe they should suggest moving the series to Toronto post haste.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from Thursday’s Game 1 loss.
1. Cole Hamels essentially sailed through the first two innings and got a nice play from Shin-Soo Choo in right field for the first out of the third.
Hamels walked Ezequiel Carrera with one out, only to easily get Devon Travis for the second out.
What followed didn’t seem to be a remote possibility.
The next five Blue Jays reached, and four of them plus Carrera scored as Toronto put away Game 1 and Hamels early.
The thing is, Hamels was close to getting away without any runs. Adrian Beltre couldn’t handle a Josh Donaldson liner, saying he briefly lost the ball in a white shirt in the stands, and it went for an RBI double. If he catches it, the Blue Jays don’t score. If Hamels doesn’t try to snag Edwin Encarnacion’s weak liner, it turns into an inning-ending groundout with the Rangers down only 1-0.
It’s hard to blame Beltre for being unable to snare an absolute rocket. Hamels didn’t do himself any favors the rest of the inning.
Granted, Hamels wasn’t great in September, though he was better in his final two starts. He has been a terrific postseason pitcher, though the Blue Jays handed him the worst playoff loss of his career.
Afterward, Hamels suggested that the moment might have gotten to him. When he needed to make big pitches in big situations, he was too amped up and didn’t execute his pitches.
He certainly had commanded his pitches the first two innings, so maybe there’s something to that.
It doesn’t matter now, with there no guarantee that he will pitch again in this best-of-5 series. He said that he could probably pitch Game 4 if the Rangers are facing elimination, but maybe he’ll be ready for a Game 5 or Game 1 of the AL Championship Series.
In addition to better pitching, the Rangers need to get more offense. They couldn’t do that in Game 1 as ...
2. One of the deepest lineups in the league was held to only four hits in 8 1/3 innings by Marco Estrada, whose changeup kept the Rangers from making any solid contact on his high-80s fastball.
The Rangers hardly made Estrada break a sweat, and it was 90 degrees at first pitch. The right-hander allowed only one hit, an infield by Beltre when he stumbled trying to cover first base, in the first five innings.
Toronto manager John Gibbons gave Estrada a chance at the complete game, but Elvis Andrus tripled to start the ninth and scored on a Choo groundout. That was it for Estrada, who had wiped out the Rangers much earlier.
The task doesn’t get any easier in Game 2 with J.A. Happ on the mound for Toronto. All he did in the regular season was go 20-4 with a 3.18 ERA.
Expect Ryan Rua to replace Mitch Moreland at first base as the Rangers go with an extra right-handed bat. Moreland is the better defensive player, as evidenced by the first out of the game as he chased down a Travis popup near the seats.
They need offense after Estrada tied them up. They don’t need Moreland’s defense nearly as much as they need ...
3. Yu Darvish to tie up the Blue Jays’ lineup. It helps that he is right-handed and the top Toronto hitters are right-handed.
Donaldson is the top hitter, and he went 4 for 4 in the opener. Troy Tulowitzki was 3 for 5, and Jose Bautista tuned out the boos to go 2 for 4 with a three-run homer and four RBIs.
Darvish, though, can make the best hitters look silly. He was on top of his game down in his final two starts, albeit against Oakland and Tampa Bay. That stuff, though, would have confounded the best lineups.
Toronto has one of them.
Darvish has one postseason start to fall back on, in his rookie season of 2012. He pitched well despite taking the loss against Baltimore, allowing two runs (one earned) in 6 2/3 innings.
The Rangers will take that right now. They need it to avoid going to Toronto down 0-2.